Ross demands ‘reassurance’ over falling police numbers

Douglas Ross - public need reassurance over police numbers.
Douglas Ross – public need reassurance over police numbers.

TORY MSP DOUGLAS ROSS is demanding that the SNP Government should find “a better way to reassure the public” over police staffing levels.

The Highlands and Moray MSP, who is also shadow cabinet secretary for Justice, is demanding that his constituents and people throughout Scotland are reassured over police staffing levels.

His call comes after it was revealed that police numbers had dropped to their lowest level in over five years, with 17,242 men and women in uniform – the lowest number since 2010.

Mr Ross, who has also retained his place on the Moray Council and is a member of the police, fire and rescue services committee, said that people must be reassured there were enough policemen and women keeping them safe.

He said: “It’s right that Police Scotland should have the flexibility to deploy officers and staff to adapt to the policing priorities of our local communities – but the SNP’s smoke and mirrors policy on police numbers isn’t going to cut it.

“Police Scotland needs a balanced workforce, but all these figures show is a downwards trend – and it has made no secret of the fact it is facing significant budgetary pressures. We need to establish whether this drop in numbers is down to shifting priorities for the police, or a wholesale downscaling of resources.

“In light of recent developments, perhaps the Scottish Government should consider a better way to reassure the public that the single force is sufficiently staffed.”

Last night the Minister for Community Safety, Annabelle Ewing, pointing to crime being at a 41-year low in Scotland – praising Police Scotland for their hard work in tackling violence and crime.

She added: “We will continue to work with Police Scotland to support them by considering the implications of changing demands in Scottish policing and ensuring the right mix of officers and specialist staff to provide protection for Scotland’s communities.”